New Brunswick

More bike lanes, trails needed to keep Saint John pedestrians safe, cyclists say

Pedestrians and cyclists in Saint John are risking their lives to get around the city, according to the recreation manager for the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

Engineers, community planners and municipal officials to discuss active transportation at symposium this week

Cameron said Harbour Passage is one of the good pieces of pedestrian infrastructure in Saint John. (Submitted by Nick Cameron)

Pedestrians and cyclists in Saint John are risking their lives to get around the city, according to the recreation manager of the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

Nick Cameron, who is also an avid cyclist, said the city needs to create safer infrastructure for pedestrians because people are interested in walking and biking around the city.

In fact, 84 calls were made to police about people walking or cycling across the Harbour Bridge between Jan. 1 and Oct. 21, according to a Saint John police report.

But Cameron said pedestrians and cyclists shouldn't have to risk crossing unsafe roadways to get around the city.

Nick Cameron of Saint John Cycling says the organization is happy to see more bike lanes being built, but hopes the city prioritizes more low-income neighbourhoods. (Submitted by Nick Cameron)

"Those are [the] folks that want to get around by bike or walking more, but they don't feel safe doing it, and they need the appropriate infrastructure there, whether it's bike lanes or separated pathways," Cameron said.

Cameron is organizing a symposium to discuss active transportation in New Brunswick and learn more about barriers pedestrians and cyclists face. 

"I think people just don't know enough about cycling infrastructure or walking infrastructure, what it is and the value of it,  so that's the purpose of the symposium," he said.

He said Saint John does have some active transportation infrastructure, including a few bike lanes and Harbour Passage but it needs to be extended.

"We have some bike lanes but not really a greater network connecting the entire region," he said. "It's a little bit patchwork right now." 

Luke Tudor, who's been biking in the city for 10 years, said he'd like to see a trail system similar to Fredericton's because new cyclists often find the road design in Saint John intimidating.

"They don't know where they're supposed to be," Tudor said. "They don't know which roads are the safest for them to ride on and they don't feel like there's a space for them on the road." 

Tudor said he understands that the city has limitations on what it can do but when a road is being repaved, he said active transportation should be considered and implemented.

"It encourages people to bike," he said. "They realize that this is a place they're supposed to bike as opposed to having just a traffic lane with no indication that they can bike there.

"It's very discouraging to someone who's starting to bike, and that's part of the reason that not many people do it."

The Move Forward Symposium is open to the community and will feature panels of engineers, community planners and municipal officials. It is taking place at the Lily Lake Pavilion on Nov. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A roundtable discussion will also be held at the Five and Dime on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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